Arachnophonia: Beck “Morning Phase”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student worker Colin (class of 2021) and features the Grammy award winning ninth studio album by Beck. Thanks, Colin!

Beck

Morning Phase

Beck - Morning Phase

Released in 2014, Beck’s Morning Phase was a highly anticipated album after years of rumors surrounding its creation, and after news struck that Beck had signed with the incredibly famous Capitol Records. Morning Phase has been noted to sound very similar to Beck’s previous album, Sea Change, as both offer a melancholy and detached sound that Beck feared would drag on listeners’ ears. However, Morning Phase found itself to be widely regarded as Beck’s finest work, and the album earned the coveted Album of the Year Award at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Beck

Morning Phase is essentially a commentary on what is black and white in the world, and what one should do when the world seems to be crumbling down. The album offers bright guitar playing, beautiful orchestral arrangements, layered vocals, and masterful percussion, all which culminate in each song to create a grand experience that meet many critics’ praise. Particularly interesting on this album is the song “Wave,” which features many of the elements previously stated of the album, and is a wonderful piece to listen to when one just needs to chill out.

Arachnophonia: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Colette (class of 2017), and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album. Thanks, Colette!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

This album has been one of my favorites since high school. Two years after “For Emma, Forever Ago” was released in 2008, Bon Iver’s sophomore release was this self-titled album.

“Holocene” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The intro features intricately woven electric/acoustic guitars and vibes. While the beginning of the song is gentle and almost mesmerizing, by the time the chorus rolls around, the song picks up. The chorus lyrics are not your typical “pop” chorus:

And at once I knew I was not magnificent
Huddled far from the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
And I could see for miles, miles, miles

Justin Vernon

A wintry shot of Bon Iver’s frontman, Justin Vernon

“Towers” is also a favorite. This tune demonstrates the poetic nature of the group’s lyrics. The lyrics are a rhyming poem, which detail the process of falling in, then out of love. Some of my favorites include:

From the faun forever gone
in the towers of your honeycomb
I’d a tore your hair out just to climb back darling
when you’re filling out your only form
can you tell that itʼs just ceremon’
now you’ve added up to what you’re from

If you’re looking for a folk/indie album that’s not like the rest, check out Bon Iver’s “Bon Iver”.

Holocene cover

Cover for the 12″ single release of “Holocene”

Spider Sounds: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Liza (class of 2017) and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Liza!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver before, you can already get a feeling of their music with a glimpse at this album’s cover artwork.
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

Differentiating himself from the typical sounds of “folk,” Vernon combined chamber pop with an edge to create his own sounds from scratch. His soulful voice remains a unique characteristic that no other singer sounds like; he evokes an earthy virtuosic voice that you can easily get lost in when listening to his lyrics.

The album is composed of 10 songs, each representing a place. In particular, “Holocene,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its ability to trigger dozens of emotions within seconds. I would recommend listening to Bon Iver when you’re in a “chill” and relaxed mood or even when you’re studying, so come by the Parsons Music Library to check it out!

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Florence + the Machine “Lungs”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Claire (class of 2020) and features “Lungs” the 2009 studio album debut of English indie rock group Florence + The Machine. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Claire!

Florence + The Machine

Lungs

Florence + the Machine - Lungs

I can still remember the stormy, humid night I spent sitting up on a hill in Grant Park, watching Florence whirl across the stage. At Chicago’s largest music festival, I had spent the entire day listening to dozens of bands, eating gooey, cheesy Chicago-style pizza, and wondering if life could get any better. But let’s face it– standing in lines, dancing like a maniac, and jamming out to live music takes a lot out of a person, and by the nighttime, I was exhausted. For days, I had been anxiously awaiting Florence + The Machine, and now, as I plopped down to watch the last show of Lollapalooza 2015, I just couldn’t wait any longer.

I guess the biggest reason why I love this album is the way it takes me back to that night… Florence + The Machine has always been one of my favorites, and getting to see them in concert was a night I will never forget.

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine mid song

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine mid song

There is something about the way their songs make me want to move that I have yet to find in any other band. Even in songs that were never played on the radio, like “Between Two Lungs,” there is a unique force (especially during the chorus) that somehow encourages me to get up and dance, whether I’m at home, with friends, or even alone in my room.
This album is perfect for anyone who needs to add a little smile to their day–it never fails to cheer me up. I hope you find your own slice of happiness in it, too.

Spider Sounds